Brands’ lack of customer focus reverses CX momentum gained during the pandemic
According to Forrester’s US 2022 Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) rankings, CX quality fell for 19% of brands in 2022 — the highest proportion of brands to drop in one year since the inception of the survey. In addition, CX quality has fallen back to early 2020 levels, reversing gains made in 2021. The drop stems from companies’ waning focus on customers even though customers expect more from digital and hybrid experiences. In 2022, only 3% of US companies are customer-obsessed — putting customers at the center of their leadership, strategy, and operations — a decrease of 7 percentage points from the prior year.
Industries such as airlines, auto manufacturers, and hotels suffered losses in their average CX Index scores, brought on, in part, by environmental factors like rising costs, supply issues, and staffing shortages. The investment industry is the only industry to see CX improvement in 2022. This year’s elite brands — the top 5% of brands in the entire CX Index — had a 15-point advantage over others in providing emotionally positive experiences for customers. Elite brands include Chewy.com, Navy Federal Credit Union, USAA, Etsy, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, HEB, Edward Jones, and Trader Joe’s.
Emotion continues to be a key driver for delivering high levels of CX performance. Fifty-four percent of customers who report positive emotions like feeling happy, valued, and appreciated are willing to forgive brands that make mistakes. Also, the quality of brand interactions is integral to building customer trust. In 2022, an average of 59% of customers trust the brands they interact with, 2 percentage points higher than the 57% of customers who trusted brands in 2020.
“CX quality in the US, which reached new heights in 2021, has fallen to pre-pandemic levels due to brands losing their customer focus,” said Rick Parrish, VP and research director at Forrester. “This is unfortunate for businesses that survived the worst of the pandemic but are now losing CX-driven customer loyalty gains. For brands to regain CX momentum, leaders will need to refocus their behavior on helping their companies become customer-obsessed.”
Conducted for the seventh year in a row, Forrester’s Customer Experience Benchmark Survey, which collects data to calculate Forrester CX Index scores, is based on more than 96,000 US customers across 221 brands and 13 industries. Forrester’s proprietary Customer Experience Index methodology provides the data and insights needed to assess CX quality, understand how CX impacts loyalty intentions, and prioritize improvements that drive revenue. Even a minor improvement to a brand’s customer experience quality can add tens of millions of dollars of revenue by reducing customer churn and increasing share of wallet. Forrester’s Customer Experience CX Index rankings and results reports are accessible within the Forrester Decisions portfolio of research services. Clients of Forrester Decisions for Customer Experience and Forrester Decisions for B2C Marketing Executives have access to the CX Index Extended Data Benchmark to help prioritize improvements based on industry-wide trends and impact on customer loyalty.